Faculty Senate Discusses Resolution on Shared Governance

The resolution cites decisions related to the strategic plan and the process for faculty input.

Professor of Biology Guillermo Orti, and other Faculty Senate members
Senator and Professor of Biology Guillermo Orti presents the resolution on shared governance to the Faculty Senate on Friday. (Harrison Jones/GW Today)
January 13, 2020

The Faculty Senate on Friday discussed a resolution emphasizing the importance of shared governance, debating and amending it extensively before ultimately voting to refer it to a special committee for further deliberation.

The resolution was prompted by decisions and process concerns related to the strategic plan that some faculty members have said did not adequately include faculty input, including the objectives to decrease the on-campus undergraduate population and increase the percentage of students who complete a major in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Senators spoke both against and in favor of the resolution.

“I believe that we can improve our culture at GW by reminding ourselves, the faculty we represent and the broader GW community of the principles of shared governance,” said Professor of Biology Guillermo Orti, one of the authors of the resolution.

President Thomas LeBlanc said that he understood the concerns and appreciated the faculty’s civil and respectful debate.

“I have a history of participating in shared governance, I respect shared governance,” Dr. LeBlanc said, later adding, “There is no ill intent in any of this debate that I can see. Everybody is speaking to the best interests of the institution, and I appreciate that as well.”

Sylvia Marotta-Walters, chair of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, said she was in favor of the “intent” of the resolution but “totally in opposition to the resolution in its current form,” citing language and procedural issues, including the fact that a senate committee did not draft it.

With its vote to refer the resolution to a special committee, the senate now expects to discuss an updated resolution at its February meeting.

Also Friday, Chris Bracey, vice provost for faculty affairs and professor of law, provided an update on behalf of Provost M. Brian Blake, who could not be present.

Mr. Bracey said that the committee to provide guidance on tactics for implementing the strategic plan’s undergraduate and STEM enrollment targets has formed. The committee will provide recommendations to the High-Quality Undergraduate Education Strategic Planning Committee. 

The guidance committee has met and will be meeting weekly moving forward. Initial discussions have focused on objectives and milestones as well as collecting third-party information that “might suggest the educational needs of future students,” Mr. Bracey noted on behalf of Dr. Blake.

Chaired by Dr. Blake, the committee includes deans, faculty and student representation. Additional committee members can be nominated by contacting the Provost’s Office.

The current committee membership comprises:

  • Dr. Blake (chair)
  • Reuben Brigety, dean, Elliott School of International Affairs
  • Tyson Brown, director of operations and technology, Enrollment and Student Success
  • Jamie Cohen-Cole, associate professor of American studies, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
  • Dylan Conger, professor of public policy and public administration, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration
  • Joe Cordes, professor of economics, public policy and public administration, and international affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs
  • Pam Jeffries, dean, School of Nursing
  • John Lach, dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Derek Lo, undergraduate student, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council
  • Marie Price, professor of geography and international affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs
  • Paul Wahlbeck, interim dean, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Mr. Bracey also provided an update on behalf of Dr. LeBlanc, who could not attend the entire meeting, noting:

  • The strategic planning process remains on track. Interim reports from strategic planning committees will be released Jan. 24 for university community feedback.
  • The strategic campus and facilities master planning process is underway and more information will be provided soon on how GW community members can participate.
  • The GW Law dean search is expected to be completed early in the spring semester.
  • Dr. LeBlanc will be traveling this semester to cities across the country to meet alumni, families, students and friends for GW + You Community Receptions.
  • GW is making improvements to safety and security, including installing more than 1,400 tap access locks across 15 residence halls and other enhancements such as classroom and building access control. Additionally, GW’s new Chief of Police James Tate joins GW Jan. 21.

The senate also tabled for a future meeting a separate resolution that would amend the regulation of GW honors, awards or distinctions for individuals outside the university.

University News


President LeBlanc Presents Strategic Plan Data to Faculty Senate

December 16, 2019

Dr. LeBlanc provided internal and external data trustees used to determine the goals for undergraduate enrollment and STEM.

Strategic Planning Committees Give Updates at Faculty Senate

December 16, 2019

The chairs of four faculty-led committees presented on their current achievements, preliminary recommendations and next steps.